Nature Play & Grow

Welcome to Nature Play & Grow!

The Nature Play & Grow program is delivered in partnership between Nature Play WA, The ORIGINS Project, Telethon Kids Institute, Joondalup Health Campus and Minderoo Foundation. 

a person climbing a rock

 The Nature Play & Grow project has been designed to encourage a family-based healthy lifestyle. There is now much evidence that time in nature is associated with better child health (including physical activity, eating behaviours, sleep, and all aspects of physical and mental wellbeing).  

This pilot program of nature-based outdoor group sessions aims to provide families with ideas and choices for how they spend time together. They steer families towards fun and interactive experiences (green time) and away from sedentary activities on devices (screen time). 

a young girl brushing her teeth

Program goals:

The outdoor group sessions have been designed with a specific focus each week but also contribute to some overarching themes and understandings: 

  • Develop a community (participate, engage, and communicate) 
  • Develop a connectedness to nature (awareness of, responsibility toward, enjoyment of nature and specific places) 
  • Develop healthy ways of living and sustainable practices (reduce, reuse, recycle) 
  • Develop a playful mindset (be conscious of responses e.g., what to say instead of “be careful”) 

The children will:

  • Develop lifelong habits or dispositions (creativity, curiosity, confidence, enthusiasm, endurance, independence, persistence, resilience, imagination, problem-solving) to take care of themselves independently and be engaged, motivated and contributing community members 
  • Develop an explorative mindset 
  • Engage with their senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell) 
  • Engage with nature 
  • Develop social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and language skills 
  • Develop risk assessment skills and safety sense (what’s safe to explore) 

a few people digging in the dirt

Program partners:

  • Nature Play WA is a Western Australian not for profit organisation, in partnership with the Department of Local Government, Sport, and Cultural Industries, with a mission to support children’s mental and physical health through unstructured outdoor play. 
  • ORIGINS is a longitudinal study following pregnant women, their partners, and babies for the first five years of life. It collects information about how early environments can affect a range of noncommunicable diseases such as allergies, asthma, diabetes, and obesity. It also looks at the microbiome, the physical health of the parents and genetics.
  • Minderoo Foundation is a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. A key initiative is the Thrive by Five program which increases awareness around the importance of a child’s early years and empower parents and caregivers to give children the best start in life.
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